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Cowboys In Cyberspace - May 2007

Three DVD re-releases
from the 'other side'...

DVD cover

THE OTHER SIDE OF NASHVILLE is a highly entertaining feature-length documentary produced and directed in 1983 by Etienne Mirlesse, and now re-released on DVD. The downbeat opening shows some hopeful would-be stars ruminating on what it takes to make it big in Nashville 'these days' and the voice-over confirms that the music business is now a multi-million dollar gamble and Nashville is the casino! Next follows a wonderfully succinct sequence that sums up how the town became the commercial centre of country music.

The rest of the film alternates between performances and candid interviews with established stars (Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Hank Williams Jr. and more) who give their viewpoint on the state of the business and some tell how they got their 'break' and why it could never happen like that 'today'. Their comments are even more significant now, particularly those of (the late) Chet Atkins who hoped that Nashville would continue to boom, "...as long as we don't conform too much. There's too much conformity in the music business today and you don't survive doing that". There are lots of great moments including a studio duet by Johnny Cash & Bob Dylan, Carl Perkins on rockabilly, Bobby Bare onstage and look for Charlie McCoy behind Rattlesnake Annie, playing bass with one hand and a harmonica in the other!

Umbrella Entertainment DAVID0879
118 Mins

 


Bob talked to Barbara Morison on 2SER 107.3 FM about this month's column and more...
LISTEN HERE - MP3

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barbed wire
DVD coverMany years ago I was on a flight to Melbourne and unbeknownst to me, local guitar legend Phil 'The Wiz' Emmanuel was seated a few rows behind. During the flight he crept down the aisle and dropped a pair of headphones over my ears and suddenly my brain was assailed by the fastest, loudest country guitar playing I had ever heard.

Turning to see Phil grinning a "how about that?" look, I learned that it was a band called the DIXIE DREGS featuring a guitarist named STEVE MORSE. In the mid-seventies they recorded for the great Southern label Capricorn Records (who also released the Allman Brothers, Charlie Daniels etc) and at last DIXIE DREGS LIVE AT THE MONTREUX JAZZ FESTIVAL 1978 has now been released in full on DVD. This is high-energy music for those with adventurous tastes. Call it rock or jazz-fusion maybe (they weren't sure themselves!), but there is no mistaking the country behind the breakneck speed of The Bash (based on Wabash Cannonball). To me, it just sounds like great music. Amongst the 'extras', look for fiddle champion Mark O'Connor on violin and guitar. Back to the flight; as we left the plane, Phil leaned towards me conspiratorially and said, "Remember Bob..." - I waited for more revelations or sage advice - "...always put your price up!" But that's another story...
Umbrella Entertainment DAVID0911
60 Mins plus extras

DVD cover By the time I got to the USA and had a chance to see STEVE MORSE play live, he had already firmly established his solo career. The Steve Morse Band is a stripped down power-trio (leaving behind the fiddle and keyboards of The Dregs line-up) and this DVD is a great example of their work. STEVE MORSE BAND - LIVE IN BADEN-BADEN GERMANY MARCH 1990 was filmed for a television show called 'Ohne Filter', and it includes a mixture of Dregs and solo material. A large selection comes from the first solo album, The Introduction, including one of my favourites General Lee, which on the original recording featured country guitar legend Albert Lee. Guitar fans may remember Albert Lee and Steve Morse conducting workshops in Australia some while ago, in tandem with Stirling 'Biff' Ball, as a promotion for Music Man guitars and Ernie Ball strings. Steve held similar workshops alone last year when he was in Australia as a member of Deep Purple, the band with whom he currently tours. The DVD also contains bonus footage from 1984 which features the original Steve Morse Band line-up and includes a blitz through that first Dregs tune I ever heard, Pride O' The Farm.
Umbrella Entertainment DAVID0910
60 Mins plus extras

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Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with
Barbara Morison
on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney and on the Web)
and listen for Big Bob from Bondi every Saturday night with
John Nutting on Saturday Night Country (your Local ABC Radio and the Web).

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